Where to discover the creative soul of Broken Hill
The Silver City’s mix of dramatic outback landscapes, frontier lifestyle and deep-running mining heritage has a remarkable track record of inspiring creatives – from artist Pro Hart to Mad Max director George Miller.
Follow the Hart lines
Born in Broken Hill in 1928, Pro Hart grew up on a nearby sheep station, was illustrating his school essays by the age of seven, and went on to become perhaps Australia’s most famous outback artist.
As a young man, he would work 12-hour shifts in the mines and paint at night, and his life experiences – from his childhood in the bush to his years labouring underground – inspired his distinctive and much-loved paintings of outback life. You can connect to both the man and his work at the Pro Hart Gallery, and join an art class to learn how to paint like a Pro.
Go mad for Max at Silverton
Just a 30-minute drive from Broken Hill, the vast
The spirit of Max lives on, thanks to English couple Adrian and Linda Bennett, who run the Mad Max 2 Museum at Silverton, where they show off their wild collection of original and replica items from the movie, including vehicles, props and outfits. Three things that Adrian would grab if he had to leave in a hurry? The boomerang, the music box, and the fork that Max used to eat dog food. The latest Mad Max movie, Furiosa, is also being filmed around Broken Hill in mid-2022.
Peruse art by John Dynon
Another celebrated artist born in Broken Hill, John Dynon left school in 1968 aged 14, and worked in sheep stations and as a miner, before painting full-time from the age of 31.
He paints the outback, its flowers and colours, and you’ll find him hard at work in the corner of the John Dynon Gallery in Silverton, a colourful tin shed festooned with painted bicycles and packed with Dynon’s prints and original works, as well as souvenirs and sculptures. “It’s the landscape,” Dynon said, when asked what it is about this region that inspired his work. “The hills change colour all day, and the sunsets are beautiful. I just love it out here.”
Savour timeless artworks
The oldest regional gallery in NSW has a new look, having just undergone a $1.7 million refurbishment in its historic home: the old hardware store, Sully’s Emporium. It’s also got a new name, the Broken Hill City Art Gallery, and a new way of exhibiting works from its collection.
Browse an impressive array of works from the 19th century to the present day, by the likes of Margaret Preston and Arthur Boyd, as well as Indigenous artists from central Australia, such as Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, and local artists including Uncle Badger Bates, a Barkindji Elder who incorporates the stories of his Country and the Barka (Darling River) in lino prints, and has been making art since his grandmother taught him to carve emu eggs and wood when he was six years old.
Admire the work of Jack Absalom
Another larger-than-life character forever associated with Silver City is artist Jack Absalom. A South Australian who learned bush skills from Indigenous people on the Nullarbor Plain as a child, Absalom lived in Broken Hill for the last 70 years of his life, was also the star of ABC TV shows and the author of books on outback travel.
He didn’t take up painting until he was 43, while guiding artists on a tour of the outback. But when he did, he discovered a knack. You’ll find a selection of Absalom’s evocative oil paintings of outback landscapes at Absalom's Gallery in Broken Hill, as well as prints, books and an opal display.
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Follow the full art and culture trail in Broken Hill in our one-day itinerary.